Product database upgrade

On 4 December 2019 we upgraded the food and drink product database on FoodChecker. 

In fact, we didn’t just upgrade it – we’ve completely transformed the way we source information about products, and automated our system of classifying them according to the Victorian school canteens policy and Healthy Choices guidelines!

Over the next few months you’ll have access to 1000s more food and drinks products classified GREEN, AMBER or RED, with updates occurring throughout the year!

Comprehensive and up to date product information

We’ve integrated FoodChecker with a very large, external database that contains thousands of food and drink products from around Australia.

Linking with this database means we can update FoodChecker regularly throughout the year to include new and reformulated products.

Automated classifications based on latest criteria

We’ve also transformed the way we classify the branded foods and drinks products in FoodChecker, from a lengthy manual process, to a mostly automated system.

You can be confident that the foods and drinks in FoodChecker are classified according to up to date criteria for the school canteens policy and Healthy Choices guidelines using the most recent product information we have available.

How are products classified?

 

However, some things will be a little bit different:

  • You’ll see multiple versions of the same product
    Initially, when you search for products on FoodChecker you might see multiple sizes for many items, such as ‘1 jar’ and ‘1 serve’ of a pasta sauce. Now that we’ve upgraded the database, we’ll tidy this up over the next few months. Read more.

  • You might not find some products that you’re used to seeing
    This might be because the product has been discontinued, or we might be in the process of replacing it. If you can’t find a food or drink product in FoodChecker, you can still classify it by entering some information from the packaging. How to assess products.

  • Your previous assessments now contain ‘old’ product information
    Put simply, we’re replacing our previous database with a new (and smarter) one. Whilst you will still find many of the same products in the new database, all branded food and drink products included in your assessments before 4 December 2019 are now considered ‘old’ data.

    These old products will be slowly phased out of FoodChecker in the next 12 months. But don’t worry - we will give you plenty of notice before that happens, and we will support you through the transition!

Learn about what the database upgrade means for you below:

 

 

Database upgrade Q&A

What happens to the products already in my assessments?

Any branded food and drink products included in assessments before 4 December 2019 will still be visible in your assessments and reports. This includes completed and incomplete (draft) assessments.

  • If your assessment was completed before 4 December 2019, all products are from the previous database and they will remain visible in your assessments and reports. 

  • If your assessment was started before 4 December 2019 and you complete the assessment on or after 4 December 2019, any products that you added to the assessment before 4 December will still be included in the assessment (unless you remove them).

In both cases, those products will be assessed according to the information in FoodChecker at the time you added them to the assessment, which means your assessment may contain product information that is no longer current.


NOTE: All branded food and drink products from the previous database (before 4 December 2019) are now considered ‘old’ information, and they will be slowly phased out of FoodChecker in the next 12 months.

But don’t worry - we will give you plenty of notice before that happens, and we will support you through the transition!


Can I copy assessments that contain products from the previous database?

You sure can! Copying a previous assessment is the easiest way to reassess an existing menu/vending machine/recipe that you have recently made changes to.

When you copy an assessment, all foods and drinks from the original assessment will be copied over too. Then you can edit or remove them, and add new items too.

If there are any branded food and drinks items in your copied assessment, they will be classified according to the information in FoodChecker at the time you added them to the original assessment.

However, we don’t advise copying assessments that are more than 6 months old, nor when assessing a new menu/vending machine/recipe.

If you are assessing a new menu, vending machine, product or recipe, we recommend that you start a new assessment and add each food and drink item again. This will ensure they are assessed using the latest information and classification criteria. (TIP: Save your recipes to your recipe back, so you won’t have to add every individual ingredient each time you want to assess it.)

We recommend that you do a new assessment every 6-12 months anyway (instead of copying past assessments), to ensure your food and drink classifications are based on the most up to date information and classification criteria.

 

Do I have to redo every assessment?

Not straight away, but as a general rule we do recommend that you do a new assessment every 6-12 months to ensure your food and drink classifications are based on the most up to date product information and classification criteria. 

This means that any assessments you completed in 2019 should be redone sometime in 2020 to get current results.

 

Why is a product missing from the new database?

Not all products from the previous database are in the new one. This might be because the product has been reformulated or discontinued, or we might be in the process of replacing it.

If you would like to assess a product that is not in the database, you can classify it by entering some information from the packaging. 

From the ‘Search product’ screen, click ‘Assess new product’, then select a category and complete the form. (TIP: If you are logged in, click ‘Save product’ to use it again in future.)

How to assess products.

 

Are products in the new database classified differently?

Products in the new database are classified using the most up to date classification criteria for the Victorian school canteens policy and Healthy Choices guidelines, using the most recent product information available. This means some products you are used to adding to your assessments might have an updated classification after 4 December 2019.

We recommend that you do a new assessment every 6-12 months, to ensure your food and drink classifications are based on the most up to date product information and classification criteria.